Reviews: Analog Science Fiction & Fact Short Fiction Reviews

Black Shores (Short Review)

Black Shores takes us to a strange new world, complete with a luminescent indigenous race and dark rituals that are clouded in mystery. It’s a story in the vein of Indiana Jones, as a simple trip of exploration becomes a terrifying fight to stay alive.

BLACK SHORES

Darren Speegle
Analog Science Fact & Fiction, September/October 2018 Issue

Spoiler
STORY

I followed this story eagerly from start to finish. From shipwreck to a veiled explanation of the local population to a horrifying site along the shore, the mystery stays alive through the whole story. There are so much underlying history that’s never delved into by the guide, leaving a lot to the imagination. I enjoyed following the adventure, and the terrifying ending left me contemplating how the story might have continued beyond the final word.


CHARACTERS

The main characters are your basic explorer types, thrust into this strange landscape by accident. They see the atrocities of this species living on these Black Shores, gasping in horror at their rituals. They don’t make particularly smart choices in their decisions to roam unaided through a dark spaceport they know nothing about. Naturally, they stumble into a dangerous, life-threatening situation. They follow the typical stock action-adventure characters, and Speegle does a great job of exploiting their curiosity to drive the main narrative.

I was most interested in the indigenous species on the planet. They’re hard to imagine, with their luminescent skin and hair. They’re described as almost amphibious. The creature from The Shape of Water comes to mind, though I’m not sure if that’s accurate. It’s a great invention of alien life that shows deft originality.


SETTING

The story is set on a tourist planet that isn’t delved into much. We’re seeing a part of the planet not often traveled to. It’s inhabited by a strange race of creatures not recognized as intelligent beings by the main species of the planet. It’s clear this part of the world was once densely populated, housing an enormous spaceport that lies abandoned. The mysterious tower that casts its shadow across the whole story remains a mystery after the end. I appreciated the mysteriousness of it all.


CONCEPTS

Aliens, Planets, Indigenous Race, Religion, Superstition, Space

Interested in more stories like Black Shores? Read our short reviews here.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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